So, I finally did it. I saw Frozen. I know, I know. I’m a little late (3 months) to the party, but I have to say that I was not let down. After all of the hype that’s been going on with the movie, I was almost positive that I was going to see it and be disappointed. That’s part of the reason I took three months to finally see it. But no, Frozen was still fun and exciting for me despite going through three months of hearing “Let it Go” belted out horribly by both males and females, young and old, and enduring random occurrences of people spouting Olaf the Snowman’s lovable quotes at me. No, I’m happy to say that Frozen was a very pleasant reminder that Disney is still very capable of churning out a great movie that brings back memories reminiscent of Disney’s Renaissance age and at the same time pokes fun at their outdated ideals (“You can’t marry a man you just met”) while introducing some surprisingly progressive ones.
The main conflict of the movie stems from the relationship between two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell). Elsa was born with magical powers that give her the ability to cover anything in ice. Out of fear that these powers could harm Anna and cast off Elsa as a freak, the parents of the two decide to hide Elsa away and conceal her powers. Elsa continues to hide away from her sister and the rest of society even after their parent’s death. However, she is soon forced to confront the public when the day of her coronation arrives. Clueless of her sister’s fears, Anna is excited at the prospects of opening up the castle and has even hit it off with a man, Hans (Santino Fontana). During a post-coronation party, the two sisters get into a dispute when Anna and Hans ask for her blessing to get married. Elsa accidentally reveals her powers to the whole town during the argument and storms off (literally) into the mountains leaving the town in what seems to be a perpetual winter.
Frozen was both a critical and popular success when it was first released. It has gotten way more attention than I think anybody expected it to; and for good reason. It’s hard to say anything bad about the movie. I think the biggest criticism I’ve come across towards it is the story, or lack thereof. I would actually even dispute that criticism. The story is definitely present, and just because it’s focus is the strained relationship between two sisters doesn’t make the it any less powerful or interesting. I mean, it’s a children’s movie. You’re going to get as complex of a story that a child can comprehend and relate to. I would actually argue that Frozen’s story is its biggest strength. It incorporates some great values that other Disney movies haven’t even touched; that family is the most important love and marrying a prince isn’t the only fairytale ending. In this aspect, Frozen is a refreshing change of pace from the Disney Princess movies we have all seen and know of.
Frozen also features some really beautiful animation. Disney decided to stick with the same kind of animation that was used in their previous film, Tangled. The movie is set in Norway and you can tell the animators really wanted to capture the naturally beautiful setting in its truest form. The snow is especially wonderfully done. I caught myself noticing just how realistic they made it seem in instances such as a scene in which Kristoff is stomping through the snow and you see in each foot print he leaves behind the extra snow that came up with his shoe when he lifted his foot and also the packed together pieces of snow in the footprint itself. This kind of attention to detail really paid off and really adds to the film visually.
Now to talk about the most popular aspect of the movie; the musical score. From the opening musical number, “Frozen Heart”, which incorporates the cultural elements of the Norwegian setting sung by a bunch of burly ice harvesters to the catchy and uplifting “Let It Go” sung by the amazing Idina Menzel, the songs are truly great. You can almost see the Broadway version in your mind as you watch the movie. Menzel’s powerful vocal presence definitely helps give the movie this feel, and Kristin Bell has just as much to contribute. You wouldn’t think that Bell would be able to hold her own against Broadway veteran Menzel but she definitely does and I was impressed. I don’t care how old you are or if you’re male or female, the soundtrack is downright addicting and just adds to the already amazing experience that Frozen is.
I’m happy to say that Frozen is definitely worthy of all the hype that surrounds it. Not only is it a truly unique story, but it also incorporates some great messages that Disney has ignored for a long time such as the powerful relationship between two sisters, the much needed rejection of the idea that in order for a princess’s journey to be complete she must snag a charming and handsome prince, and most importantly that one should never hide who oneself really is out of fear of rejection from the public. Although many people suggest that these ideas are forcing a “liberal agenda” onto children, I would argue that it’s more of a “being a good person agenda” and something that children should absolutely be taught. Frozen is more than just pretty animation to look at, it’s a great story. Well done, Disney. I look forward to seeing what you have next up your sleeve.